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Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

  • Bio4Energy Workshop on Max IV, Umeå, Sweden

  • Biorefinery Pilot Research

    Biorefinery Pilot Research participantsExtent and credits: 5 ECTS                            

    Course coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    Objectives

    On completion of the course, students will:

    • Be able to describe the biorefinery technologies represented in pilot scale facilities within the Bio4Energy infrastructure and know how to get access to them;

    • Be able to explain and discuss models for the roles of academia and functions of technical innovation systems and to critically evaluate real research facility cases based on these models;

    • Be aware of essentials regarding sampling, building of large-scale experimental equipment, fund raising, and intellectual property rights and;

    • Have gained access to interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge and ideas through networking activities.


    Dates and locations

    Autumn 2020

    Piteå, Sweden — 28 August - 2 September

    • RISE Energy Technology Centre and Piteå Science Park


    Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden — 21 - 25 September

    • Örnsköldsvik: RISE Processum Pilot Park, MoRe Research pilots and Biorefinery Demonstration Plant

    • Umeå: Torrefaction Pilot (Campus Umeå) and Algae Pilot at Dåva/Umeå Energi (local energy utility)


    Umeå, Sweden — 20 - 21 October

    Presentation of case studies and final discussion/workshop.


    Contents

    The course consists of:

    • On-site demonstration of equipment and technology, lectures and laboratory work;

    • Lectures on essential subjects for large-scale biorefinery or bioenergy research and;

    • A project assignment, typically a case study of a technical innovation system at one of the pilot plants in the cluster.


    Application and prerequisites

    The application for enrolment in Biorefinery Pilot Research will open during the first quarter of 2020. We will post a link here to the registration form.

    This course is recommended for students with an interest in biorefinery at the PhD or postdoctoral level, as well as industry representatives who wish to learn about research and innovation as carried out at the biorefinery-related pilot and demonstration units lining the east coast of Northern Sweden.

    For enquiries regarding the course content, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Clean-burning Cook Stoves, Technology for Local Electricity Production to Be Developed for Africa

    CB cookstoves GroupA project for Africa: Christoffer Boman and colleagues will develop a clean-burning cook stove and propose solutions for local electricity production via biomass gasification. Photos by courtesy of Christoffer Boman.Development of clean-burning technology for household cooking and medium-scale electricity production in Sub-Saharan Africa is the focus of a new multiannual project by Bio4Energy researchers in collaboration with African actors, the Swedish Environment Institute (SEI) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

    In an application for funding to the Swedish Research Council Formas, which has just been granted, they cite the International Energy Agency stating that almost one fifth of the world population still lacks access to electricity. Moreover, indoor air pollution caused by biomass burning for cooking and heating, either using poor appliances or by simply building a fire indoors, cause about two million deaths per year in Southeast Asia and Africa alone.

    While great strides have been made by high-profile initiatives such as the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, "many uncertainties still exist regarding the performance of different cooking solutions… [and] emissions from these systems and the relation to air pollution and health effects need to be better elucidated", according to the project application.
  • Clean-burning Cooking Solutions, Electricity, Being Developed for Africa

    The world needs clean-burning stoves for use in countryside households in third world, the Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting (UREM) 2016heard today. Many such households, for instance in Sub-Saharan Africa, rely on burning of untreated wood or agricultural residues inside the home and in simple appliances with few or no checks on polluting emissions.

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    Although international initiatives such as the Global Cookstove Alliance have made great strides in the right direction, the effect of emissions on human health of particulate matter and soot are still not well understood, Bio4Energy researcher This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. told the UREM conference. Boman leads a cross-disciplinary project in which Bio4Energy researchers from Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences collaborate with the Stockholm Environment Institute and African non-governmental organisations, of which the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya, to evaluate current so-called clean-burning cookstoves and develop medium-sized facilities for electricity production in the Kenyan countryside.

  • Decisive Step Taken in Project to Bring Sustainable Bioenergy to Sub-Saharan Africa

    Fueling the reactor AnnaStrom2020Robert Lindgren of Bio4Energy fuels the pilot reactor for biomass gasification. Photo by Bio4Energy© 2020.Scientists in Bio4Energy have taken a decisive step in a multi-actor project to provide sustainable bioenergy solutions for people in some of the least well-off countries in Africa, by designing a pilot installation that will produce energy-rich gas and biochar from pre-treated biomass residues.

    The construction of the two-metre tall pilot—which is still a miniature version of what a future commercial-scale gasification reactor would look like—is a collaboration between Bio4Energy researchers at Umeå University and at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Umeå, Sweden.

    “The reactor makes us able to close the loop, or construct a total system, of upgrading and using residual biomass products from the agricultural industry”, said project leader This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Environment and Nutrient Recycling.

    Boman and his colleague and former student This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., of the same R&D platform, have been championing the project since the outset in 2012, and with funding granted in 2015.

  • EU Project Mobile Flip Final Seminar, Umeå, Sweden

  • Events' Archives

  • F1000 Recommends Bio4Energy Tool for Cell-trait Quantification

    Urs Fischer Photo by Anna StromUrs Fischer talks up some hybrid aspen plants in a greenhouse at the Umeå Plant Science Centre at Umeå University in Sweden. Photo by Anna Strom©.

    A study by Bio4Energy researchers and partners was recommended by F1000 faculty as an important article in biology. The Faculty of 1000, or F1000, is an international group of academics—faculty members—who have tasked themselves with identifying and recommending the best research output in biology and medicine when it comes to peer-reviewed scientific articles.

    The study by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and others gives an overview of a new package of analytical tools for quantifying large amounts of cellular traits, called phenotypes, in plants such as trees. Using the tools, researchers will be able to extract quantitative data from raw images obtained using state-of-the-art fluorescent microscopy. This has not previously been possible and the researchers expect this feature to speed up the process where large amounts of quantitative information need to be assessed. Hall and Fischer are part of the research platform Bio4Energy Feedstockand affiliated with Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, respectively.

    The F1000 faculty member making the recommendation, David G. Oppenheimer of the University of Florida at Gainsville, U.S.A. stated in his motivation:

    "The authors' method allows segmentation of images obtained by laser scanning confocal microscopy (or other optical sectioning methods of fluorescently labelled material) followed by assignment of cell types using the Random Forest machine learning algorithm.... I expect that this package will be useful for large-scale quantitative trait loci mapping projects or any projects that require quantification of cellular phenotypes for thousands of individuals."

  • Fascinating Plants Day, Umeå, Sweden

    Fascinerande växter – seminariedag om växtforskning i Umeå

    Forskare från Umeå Plant Science Center – Umeå universitet och SLU – berättar om sin forskning. UR Samtiden är på plats och filmar för Kunskapskanalen.

    Populärvetenskapliga föredrag på temat fascinerande växter.

    Kaffe och te i pausen.                             

    Alla är välkomna!

    Program: Torsdagen den 9 mars

    P-O Bäckströms sal (aulan), Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU)

    12.00 Välkommen! Natalie von der Lehr(moderator, frilansjournalist)

    12.05 Hur vet träden att det är höst? (svensk presentation) Stefan Jansson (professor, Umeå universitet) På hösten får träden sina höstfärger och bladen faller till slut men hur vet träden egentligen att hösten kommer? Professor Stefan Jansson vid Umeå universitet förklarar hur trädens kalender fungerar och varför bladen blir gula på hösten.

    12.30 How do plants make plumbing pipes from cells? (engelsk presentation) Sacha Escamez (postdoktor, Umeå universitet) Sacha Escamez will explain how plants utilize some of their cells to build pipe-like structures that allow them draw water and nutrients in the soil in order to distribute it throughout their bodies.

    12.55 Fotosyntesen – ett samarbete mellan cellens energifabriker (svensk presentation) Per Gardeström (professor, Umeå universitet)  Per Gardeström kommer att förklara hur fotosyntesen fungerar för att med hjälp av solljus fixera koldioxid från luften. Han kommer fokusera på samarbetet mellan kloroplaster och mitokondrier som båda är delar av växtcellerna och viktiga för deras energiförsörjning. 

    13.20 Traffic in plant cells – sending cargo the right way (engelsk presentation) Anirban Baral(postdoktor med Rishikesh Bhalerao, SLU) Anirban Baral will explain how different compartments with different functions in a plant cell exchange information and material between each other. He will show with specific examples what happens with the plant when the traffic is not regulated properly. 

    13.45 Chemicals as tools to dissect plants (engelsk presentation) Siamsa Doyle(forskare med Stéphanie Roberts, SLU)  Siamsa Doyle, plant cell biologist, will talk about the use of chemicals that block proteins controlling plant functions. The effects of these chemicals on the plants can tell researchers a lot about the proteins and their roles in plant growth and development. Like this, chemicals can be used to virtually “dissect” plants and learn more about them.

    14.10 Paus och kaffe

    14.40 Getting together: The fungus-root symbiosis in forest tree (engelsk presentation) Judith Felten (universitetslektor, SLU) Judith Felten, group leader at UPSC, will talk about the knowns and unknowns of the fascinating mechanism that allows roots and fungi to form a beneficial relationship (symbiosis). The fungus provides soil-nutrients to the tree and receives photosynthetic sugars from the tree. Like this both partners benefit from each other and stimulate each other’s growth. 

    15.05 Därför är världen grön – om växter och deras försvar (svensk presentation) Benedicte Albrectson(forskare, Umeå universitet) Benedicte Albrectson kommer att tala om hur växter försvarar sig med hjälp av kemiska ämnen. Hon kommer fokusera på en speciell klass av dessa ämnen, som kallas fenoler, och förklara hur hennes forskargrupp analyserar dem. 

    15.30 Framtidens skogsgenetik med gamla fältförsök (svensk presentation) Anders Fries (forskare, SLU)  Anders Fries forskare i skogsgenetik berättar om vad gamla fältförsök har lärt oss om vedegenskaper och vad molekylärgenetiska studier i dem kan lära oss.
  • Feedstock for Biofuel Production: Seminar 6 February at Umeå

    JLB4E RM Oct2016Joakim Lundgren, associate professor at the Luleå University of Technology, heads the R&D platform Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy. Photo by Bio4Energy.Feedstock for sustainable biofuel production. That is what the industry and research community tell us they want more of, of kinds that are economically and environmentally sustainable, as well as socially acceptable. Notably, there have been calls for focusing research and development (R&D) efforts on developing new types of tailor-made feedstock, such as Bio4Energy’s feedstock researchers do when they try to design and experimentally grow hybrid aspen for the purpose of making biofuel or nanocellulose for the production of specific bio-based materials. Many of the Bio4Energy partner organisations are involved in this effort. 

    6 February 2017 some of them will gather at Umeå, Sweden for a seminar precisely on Feedstock for Sustainable Biofuel Production, set in a system analysis perspective and jointly organised the Swedish Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels, Bio4Energy and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

    Feedstock for Sustainable Biofuel Production

    — Feedstock Potentials, Climate Change Impact of Forestry and the Realisation of Forest Biorefinery 

     
    You are invited!

     Programme and registration

    Click the link above or go to the Bio4Energy Events' page
  • Gunnar Öquist Fellows Presented, Umeå, Sweden

    Thursday 1 December 11.00, and 13.00-15.00, KBC Stora hörsalen KB.E3.03 (KB3B1)

    The Kempe Foundations Board will visit KBC and celebrates

    5 years of  Gunnar Öquist Fellows

     

    At 11:00 : Presentation  of the new Gunnar Öquist Fellows 2016

    Everybody is cordially invited to participate..

     

    More information:

    http://www.umu.se/english/about-umu/news-events/calendar/display-page?eventId=14767

    http://www.umu.se/english/about-umu/news-events/calendar/display-page?eventId=14768
  • High-level visit from Heilongjiang to Umeå University, Bio4Energy, Umeå, Sweden

    High-level visit from Heilongjiang to Umeå University, Bio4Energy
  • New Leader for Bio4Energy's Environmental Researchers

    StinaJansson platform lead Photo by AnnaStrom copyAssociate professor Stina Jansson is a new leader for the R&D platform Bio4Energy Environment and Nutrient Recycling. Photo by Bio4Energy.The research and development platform Bio4Energy Environment and Nutrient Recyclinghas a new leader. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., associate professor at Umeå University(UmU), will be taking over the platform leadership from Dan Boström, who has seen his workload increase substantially since becoming Bio4Energy programme manager in February last year. Boström and Jansson will be sharing the leadership over the summer, following which Jansson will shoulder the role fully from 1 September 2017.

    “We are pleased to announce that Stina is a new platform leader in Bio4Energy. She is a young researcher with a great record as an environmental chemist. She is also at a very progressive stage of her career. We are glad that she has accepted to take on the role”, said Boström, professor at UmU, adding that the Bio4Energy Board had passed the decision this month to promote Jansson to the post of platform leader.

    Part of the research environment since its launch in 2010, Jansson was a postgraduate student in the group of the former Bio4Energy programme manager, professor emeritus Stellan Marklund. Her area of expertise includes research to check the environmental credentials of thermal processes for the conversion of biomass.

  • New Neutron-based Technology Set to Improve Process Control in Biorefineries, Bioenergy Operations

    TL MT SL AS11116Bio4Energy researchers Torbjörn Lestander (left), Mikael Thyrel and Sylvia Larsson won funding for a test-bed pilot which technology is expected to be essential for the efficient operation of biorefineries and biomass combustion facilities. Photo by Bio4Energy.

    An instrument that can help biorefinery industry and bioenergy utilities detect and remove or neutralise elements that scupper the process or pollute the environment directly as the biomass is fed into the conversion or combustion process. It sounds like every industrial operator's dream, does it not?

    For operators in northern Sweden it could come true within a few years, thanks to funding just granted to Bio4Energy researchers for the purchase of a new instrument drawing on neutron technology for the rapid and advanced online characterisation of woody materials, biomass ash and organic waste. 

    "The instrument allows for a considerable advancement when it comes to technology since the neutrons have a depth of penetration of tens of centimetres into the test material, which opens up the possibility rapidly to characterise large volumes of heterogeneous material", the researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences(SLU) say in their application to the funding provider, the Kempe Foundations.

    "This means that the technology can be placed on a conveyor belt which makes it a true online technique with a large potential to realise the necessary characterisation needed for process control in resource-efficient and flexible biorefineries of the future", they go on.

  • New Programme Managers for Bio4Energy

    ChB LJ EW Bio4Energy C MattiasPetterssonBio4Energy's new management team (from left): Christoffer Boman, Leif Jönsson and Elisabeth Wetterlund. Photo by Mattias Pettersson.Bio4Energy has new programme managers. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of Umeå University (UmU) will be acting programme managers and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Luleå University of Technology (LTU) their deputy.

    The appointment comes at a pivotal time, since Bio4Energy is coming up to the close of its second programme period in 2020. Its funder, the Swedish government, is expected to decide this year whether to renew the funding for Sweden’s Strategic Research Environments (SRE), of which Bio4Energy is one.

    It will be up to the newly appointed threesome to lead Bio4Energy into the future.

    “We hope that wise decisions will be made and that the SRE initiative is allowed to continue. We will have to await the arrival of political decision to know more about this”, said Jönsson, professor of Chemistry at UmU.

  • New Training Programme Available in 'Plant Biology for Sustainable Production'

    Plant Biology Master SLUPlant Biology for Sustainable Production. Programme image by courtesy of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.Next year will see the start of a new training programme for students who hold a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and want to continue their education, to learn to develop sustainable food products or bio-based materials using plant biology.

    Plant Biology—including plant protection, breeding and biotechnology—is much believed in as a science that carrying great promise for the development of sustainable food and fuels to meet current day societal challenges: Phasing out infinite and polluting fossil oil as a raw material for everyday products, while meeting the needs of world population expected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050.

    The new Master’s degree programme—Plant Biology for Sustainable Production—will be given from September 2018 by the Bio4Energy partner Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), in a unique cooperation by its three campuses in northern, mid and southern Sweden. It is designed to prepare students either for a career in academic research, or in industry or the public sector.

    The application opened this month to close mid-January 2018.

    SLU senior lecturer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., head of the R&D platform Bio4Energy Feedstock, leads a working group appointed to lay down the study plan and contents of the two-year programme, which includes the possibility from the second year to specialise in one of the following four strands:

    • Forest Biotechnology;

    • Plant Protection and Breeding for Mitigating Climate Change;

    • Abiotic and Biotic Interactions of Cultivated Plants;

    • Genetic and Molecular Plant Biology.

    The Forest Biotechnology specialisation will be given at Umeå, Sweden, in cooperation with a leading research environment and a centre, respectively: Bio4Energy and the Umeå Plant Science Centre.

  • Potentially Toxic Chemicals in Thermal Conversion of Biomass Need to Be Investigated, Controlled

    QiujuGao 416Bio4Energy PhD researcher Qiuju Gao checks torrefied material for toxic organic chemicals in a laboratory at the University of York. Photo by courtesy of Qiuju Gao.In large-scale production of heat and electricity in the developed world, emissions from biomass burning are generally well controlled. Recently, however, new high-technological methods have been invented that are designed as a pre-treatment step to various forms of temperature-dependent conversion of renewable biomass to fuels, chemicals and materials, often in combination with heat and/or electricity production.

    Because in such thermal conversion every new process step could be a potential source of undesirable emissions, and because these need to be controlled for the purpose of safeguarding human health and the environment, Bio4Energy scientists set out to investigate the matter with a focus on toxic emissions in relation to pre-treatment technologies that are still in their infancy: Microwave-assisted pyrolysis and torrefaction. While the former is designed to produce a bio oil using microwave technology (and which oil then may be further refined into value-added specialty chemicals), the other is a form of roasting of the biomass which renders light-weight and hydrophobic solid pellets or briquettes. Both methods are performed in an oxygen free, or near oxygen-free, environment.

    In a set of studies carried out by Bio4Energy PhD student This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and colleagues at Umeå University in Sweden and at the University of York in the UK, the researchers wanted to find out whether each of the two technologies gave rise to the formation of dioxins or dioxin-like substances that are toxic organic compounds that can spread over large distances, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and animals and persist for a long time in the environment. These chemicals are regulated under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) which is a global treaty agreed under the auspices of the United Nations in 2001. It aims for countries to phase out the use of POPs since these are known to induce cancer and immune system deficiencies in humans.
  • Prebiotics to be Developed in Science-industry Project

    Bio4Energy researchers with expertise in biochemical conversion technologies and wood pre-processing are at the helm of two new projects to develop prebiotics and commercial fish feed, and fungi and biofuels, respectively, from bio-based starting materials. Both are three-year projects granted in the 2017 round of funding for innovation projects by BioInnovation, a Swedish national platform for bio-based innovations, and have a substantial line-up of commercial companies as partners.

    The first project, called ForceUpValue for short, aims at demonstrating the production of low-cost prebiotics—food or feed ingredients that, once in the gut, induce the growth of microorganisms and which activity can have a positive effects on human health—starting from two abundantly available sources of bio-based feedstock: Forestry residues and a sea-living organism called Ciona intestinalis. The latter is known to have an outer layer, a tunic, rich in cellulose, which the project partners expect to use in the production of prebiotics.

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  • R&D Platform Meeting: System Analysis and Bioeconomy, Umeå, Sweden

  • Report on New Method to Map Biomass Properties Receives Praise, but Author Warns Large-scale Testing, Industry Cooperation, Needed

    Mikael Thyrel Photo by Anna StromBio4Energy reseracher Mikael Thyrel has been acknowledged for his work by the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry. Photo by Anna Strom©.The composition of different types of biomass materials varies widely and may even vary within, say, a single species of wood. This is generally seen as an impediment to the large-scale roll out of biorefinery—meaning industrial operations designed to make a cascade of bio-based products such as biofuels, "green" chemicals or bio-based starting materials for products—since each biorefinery process may have to be adapted to biomass materials from a single source. This is especially true for lignocellulosic biomass, meaning biomass from wood or inedible parts of plants.

    Thus, knowledge about quick and easy ways to judge the properties of each type of biomass is high in demand. Bio4Energy postdoctoral fellow This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has focused his research on such methods, in the pre-treatment step of the biomass intended for use in biorefinery processes. Using sophisticated X-ray fluorescence and near-infrared spectroscopy, he found that the two techniques may be used to gauge the amount of non-desirable ash-forming elements or contaminants and to single out wood chips for their content of value-added extractive substances, respectively.

    While the conclusions of Thyrel's work so far are based on testing on a laboratory scale, this has not stopped the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA) deeming it useful and novel enough to grant him an award for "best PhD thesis 2016" for the report in which he sums it all up:  Spectroscopic Characterisation of Lignocellulosic Biomass. Thyrel is to receive a diploma from the hands of the Swedish prince Carl Philip, 28 January in Stockholm and has received a personal grant.

    "As the [biorefinery] industry is trying to start up new methods are needed for the characterisation of biomass. Biomass is heterogeneous in nature. Especially targeted processes for producing chemicals are rather sensitive [to impurities in the biomass]. One batch of wood chips does not look the same as the other. We have to find a way to characterise them so that the polluting elements can be removed or handled", said Thyrel, who works at the Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.